When you get so close that your nose is pressed up against them, you see the brush strokes, where the hand pressed harder on this one and softer on that. You see that the blues and the greens are different shades. That they’re not perfect squares after all. There are millions of them. All different. Covering like skin cells. Passing the time.
You climb the hills up and you climb the hills down and you get to Rua da Emenda. It’s just off the main road. A right turn takes you away from the buses and the people and down a quiet road paved of cobblestones and riddled with bright laundry hanging from white strings. Rua da Emenda 110 is an apartment building like the rest but when you step inside you see a sign, “A Colmeia, Aberto 12:00 – 16:00″, and an arrow points upstairs.
So you climb again, up the stairs, and as you approach the 3rd floor it hits your nose and it’s warm and it’s home. So you ascend a bit quicker and open the door and there, in her apron and white bonnet and fair skin is a woman perhaps in her 60s who must have come out of a movie. She is too sweet and tender.
Through a mix of Spanish and English and broken Portuguese we talk and she fixes us a plate of beans and chili and rice with beets and salad. She puts the plate in a small oven and a few minutes later takes it out with her bare hands, puts it on a tray. We pay and walk to the back of the house where we sit by the window and eat.